“Once again, passengers can enjoy the adventure and romance of cruising onboard a true sailing vessel,” said Charles J. Kropke, CEO of the Coral Gables-based company, a successor to Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, which closed its doors in 2007.
“Our vision is to bring an intimate sailing ship experience to guests and crew while profitably supporting small island economies and preserving a treasured, well-maintained, fleet of graceful, working schooners,” said Kropke. “The islands and the ports still beckon with warm smiles and the promise of fond reunions and tens of thousands of former Windjammer passengers are still waiting for the next cruise.”
In January, Kropke’s company purchased the SV Mandalay, the queen of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’s original fleet. Since then, his company has been refitting and modernizing the 58-berth tall ship including new equipment and an innovative, new air-conditioning system. Many of the crew are former Windjammer Barefoot Cruises veterans.
“On Windjammer Sailing Adventures, there is never a dull moment,” said Kropke. “You are not merely a passenger but part of an eclectic group of adventurous, fun-loving people. You can help raise the sails, take a turn at the helm or just enjoy the winds of the Caribbean Sea as you explore some of the island’s hidden harbors and coves.”
During the 2012-13 winter season, the Mandalay will sail from Grenada and St. Lucia on a variety of one- and two-week itineraries through the Eastern Caribbean. Ports of call include Grenada (St. Georges), Carriacou (Hillsborough), Sandy Island, Union Island (Chatham Bay), Mayreau (Saline Bay), Tobago Cays, Canouan (Charlestown), Bequia, St. Vincent (Young Island), and St. Lucia (Anchastenet, Soufriere, Pitons, Rodney Bay). Special promotional offers are available through December 21, 2012.
“We’ll take you to unspoiled beaches, charming port towns and sparkling warm waters that conventional cruise ships just can’t reach,” said Kropke. “Our passengers will experience a Caribbean that few others ever see.”
Kropke plans to grow Windjammer Sailing Adventures’ fleet, while building a global network of travel partners who recognize the worldwide appeal of a sailing experience. He is also a co-owner of Dragonfly Expeditions, which offers tours in Florida and the Caribbean, and co-owner and co-founder of several other tourism-related companies.
“For former Windjammer passengers who have waited faithfully and patiently on shore, your time has arrived,” Kropke said. “For all who missed the excitement the first time around, don’t worry. Windjammer is alive and well.”